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Vacation Rental Industry Update — September 2019

By September 24, 2019 October 5th, 2019 No Comments
Vacation Rental Industry Update — September 2019

With the busy summer season behind us, it’s a perfect time to catch up on all the industry news from the past few weeks. And oh my, there’s a lot! Starting with Airbnb officially announcing its IPO intentions in 2020—amidst a flurry of IPO struggles from tech darlings Uber, Lyft, and WeWork. That’s not all that’s happening however, we will also cover:

  • Holidu raised €40 million in Series C funding
  • Greater Sum Ventures (GSV) rebrands property management companies—Inhabit IQ
  • Airbnb invests in and partners with Atlas Obscura
  • Google’s vacation rental ambitions
  • The power of local causes and social impact by vacation rental owners
  • Industry events: Rezfest and VRMA

Let’s get going!

Airbnb going public

What has been widely speculated for years, Airbnb confirmed last week with an announcement that in 2020 the home-sharing company plans to go public. This comes amidst a flurry of negative IPO news with Uber and Lyft trading below their IPO price, and WeWork struggling to weather substantial IPO criticism from the investment community—to the point that CEO Adam Neumann may be on the outs.

But for Airbnb, brand and revenue likely won’t be an issue. Steven Tweedie and Aaron Holmes of Business Insider report that in Q3 of 2018, Airbnb had revenue of over $1 billion. Airbnb has also avoided the high profile media flops that many of the other tech darling CEOs have had over the years, including some of the scandals that seem to plague many Sillicon Valley unicorns.

The reasons for the current IPO could be interesting however, with Erin Griffith of The New York Times reporting this week that “tension has grown among a 6,000-person work force as it waits to sell company shares, people with knowledge of the situation said.”

Holidu raises historic Series C

Kevin May of Phocuswire reported last week that Germany-based Holidu raised €40 million in Series C funding. This is the highest amount of investment for any private accommodation search engine.

Holidu raised a Series A of €5 million in 2016, and an undisclosed Series B in 2018. May notes, “The round eclipses the $20 million brought in by HomeToGo in April 2016 and its estimated $30 million late last year, alongside the $35 million for the ill-fated Tripping, also in 2016.”

Holidu says the new money will be used for product development, opening new regional offices, and building its existing Bookiply software.

Greater Sum Ventures (GSV)

Amy Hinote of VRMintel reports that following a massive private equity roll-up of several vacation rental technology companies—Bizcor, Bluetent, Rental Guardian, LiveRez, to name a few—Knoxville-based Greater Sum Ventures (GSV) announced it is combining its property management companies into one brand—Inhabit IQ.

According to an internal announcement reported on by Hinote, “Inhabit IQ is a unique collective of tech-forward software companies, formerly Vacation Brands and Property Brands, serving the residential, commercial and vacation rental industries.”

For an excellent summary of the GSV technology rollup in the vacation rental industry, see Matt Landau’s podcast on the subject.

Airbnb+Atlas Obscura

Airbnb has led a $20 million Series B funding round into the New York-based exploration website Atlas Obscura. According to Lukas Alpert of The Wall Street Journal, “Atlas Obscura said it plans to use the money to vastly expand its trips and local experience offerings, which the company says make up more than half its business.”

Zlati Meyer of Fast Company picked up on the news, reporting that the two companies used the opportunity to partner together to offer Atlas Obscura’s off-the-beaten-track experiences directly through the Airbnb platform.

Google’s vacation rental ambitions

Dennis Schaal of Skift reported earlier this month that Google has now signaled its vacation rental intentions by allowing Vacasa to be the first vacation rental software to connect directly into their API. Vacasa will be delivering its more than 14,000 vacation rentals as listings in Google Hotels.

Vacasa—the largest vacation rental manager in North America—also has a $162 million pending purchase of 9,000 Wyndham vacation rental units that it plans to integrate directly into Google Hotels.

Supporting local causes for social impact

Studies show that vacation rentals are good for the local economy. How can we amplify this narrative? Hostfully along with Park City Lodging have teamed up to provide vacation rental managers the specific tactics and wins through local advocacy. See full infographic here.

Industry events: Rezfest and VRMA

Attending Rezfest this week? Come and say 👋 to the Hostfully team at booth 41. Our CEO Margot Schmorak is speaking 🎙 at both VRMA and Rezfest. At Rezfest, Margot will be on-stage with Philip Minardi discussing vacation rental advocacy. And, at VRMA, Margot will join a panel of experts to discuss the positive social impact of vacation rental businesses.